The popular downtown Italian restaurant Fiore's Ristorante Toscana operated by Chef/Owner Anthony Cerrato opened a new location South of Asheville near Arden. The new location claims much of the same as the downtown Asheville location except with a few notable differences. First, the name for the Arden store is Fiore's South. Second, Cerrato changed the wine list format offering forty wines under forty dollars listed conveniently under tiered price points. Third, the menu has been tweaked to showcase the food with additional lower price points. It also offers pasta choices by the half order, full order or 'family' order serving 3 - 4 guests. Many old favorites from the original Fiore's are found on the new South menu including gluten free selections of pasta and pizza.
The location itself many 'old timers' in Asheville remember as the old Bosco's site that Anthony's father, Fred, operated. This was one of the few places that I tried on a visit to Asheville prior to moving here in 1991. I still have fond memories of Bosco's. The spot will give many that live south of Asheville the opportunity of dine at Fiore's. Cerrato joins a host of recent additions to the local restaurant scene both from independents and chains stores. Either way, the decision on where to dine in that neck of the woods continues to escalate.
The Grand Opening was held on Monday, February 21 and opened for dinner business nightly (except closed on Monday nights) the next day, Tuesday, February 22 Sunday Brunch is already offered each week with lunch service to follow on Tuesday, March 8. Along with the in-house options, Fiore's South will offer a Grab-N-Go Market for those on a tight schedule.
On the dinner menu are some of my favorites like the Tuscan Stuffed Figs. These began as an accompaniment to the Tuscan Duck entrée but so many guests kept requesting them he added an appetizer as well. They are a little different at the South menu with local basil goat cheese stuffing but still wrapped with prosciutto and, as stated on the menu, "the perfect marriage of sweet and savory". And only $3.00 !
Anthony offers a new pizza called Margherita Affumicatu highlighting house-smoked mozzarella along with roma tomatoes, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil. This is a great twist on a typical Margherita pizza. The smoke offers a fuller flavor that deepens the rest of the flavor profiles in the pizza. It was a new pizza for me and I loved it.
Another memorable dish is the Melanzane Alla Fritti or as I over simplify it - eggplant parm. This has always been a pet dish of mine and Cerrato cooks it to perfection. He marinates and then fries eggplant layering this with fresh basil, plum tomato sauce and fresh house-made mozzarella. What is not to love in that dish!?
Fiore's South, just like Fiore's Ristorante Toscana, is part of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association.
For those that live south, you have another new restaurant to taste out and decide for yourself what you like best off the menu.
2310A Hendersonville Rd
Arden, NC 28704
To quote Anthony's menu -
Ama Ció Che Mangi
Love What You Eat